Where can I find a list of skin color names? There's gotta be something more detailed than just night, porcelain, cadaver, and peach, kickin' around.

I think, Brazil, (?), at some point had a partial list. Other countries will/might have their own, I suppose.

Sure useful, in composing a painting, choosing colors to make up faces is an important necessity, especially if we want the painting to be realistic: :-| .

  • 1
    Are you just looking for a list of product names that are for skin tone paints?
    – Matt
    Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 23:43
  • 1
    I highly, highly doubt that any paint manufacturer labels any of their paints as "cadaver". Really.
    – Martha
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 0:42
  • 2
    I'm barely following the question here, I have to admit, and the last sentence doesn't even parse into coherent English. To clarify, what are you asking for? Is it for known pigment blends with names designed to indicate to skin tones or is for a list of skin tone names that you can apply to pigment mixes you've already made for reference?
    – Joanne C
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 3:17
  • I have edited/fixed my post. I was not aware of the term pigment blends. Not sure what you mean by a blend. I thought all sold color was uniform in nature, and it was up to the artist to mix color to produce color combinations. Is it not so? Interesting question though, because either the a list of skin tone names can be applied to pigmented art color names, or the reverse. The truth is though, in my opinion there should be overlap between these two, if a set of color names is truly designed to be used to paint skin. Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 4:31
  • 1
    Can this help: Munsell and the Color of Flesh.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 13:51

4 Answers 4


What thing is called as 'skin-colour' in my oil-pastel box surprised me because it was white+orange (later I knew it matches Europeans' skin's colour whereas we were brown.)

However its etymology is just tradition, and I think anyone shouldn't take it in sensible way. Its just as simple.

Artists are usually never obsessed with packaging-name of the colour... but they show obsession to the look or sense of the shade of colour. They effortlessly imitate a natural-colour by mixing more than one colors in their palette... just on eye-gaze.

If you want to make the proper shade of someone's skin's colour; you could try different available shades of yellows, browns, oranges, reds, whites, blacks, greys or even little proportion of greens or blues may require.

As some hints, could use ochre-yellow, burnt sienna, raw umber, crimson-red, scarlette red, gamboge yellow etc. from your colour-set, in proportions as required.

P. S.

Even if the colour-shade varies from country to country/ brand to brand/ medium-to-medium; the difference is probably not so drastic . For say if you get 2 shades of yellow ochre; possibly the different is not so drastic that one is totally brown and another is totally yellow. With slight color-mixing the desired shade could be easily derived. Seemingly you could easily do that, (because since you're using oil-painting that means previously you've learned drawing many years with someother media).

More-over, if you have the accurate shade that matches to desired-one's skin; still you have to mix some-other colour since you want 'realistic' thing. To make the dark, bright and highlighted portions of the picture of same-person; you must need mix colour in complex way otherwise everything will look flat.

  • 1
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – user24
    Commented Oct 23, 2016 at 12:11

I'm not entirely sure what your question is asking, but if you want names for different colors of skin tone, this website and this website have some names you might be interested in.

However, looking at the tags on your question, it seems like what you want is colors of art media, whether it be oil-paint, colored pencils, chalk, or oil pastels. In that case, I would recommend mixing colors instead of trying to find media that matches your desired color exactly. To get a skin tone, I would recommend mixing any combination of brown, "peach", orange, red, yellow, or any other colors you want. This will allow you to more closely match the color you have in your mind. For each medium, there are different strategies for mixing colors, but that's a completely different question.

  • As to "peach", this is what the color of a Spanish or Italian person living abroad imagines themselves as. There are white paste peaches, yellow paste peaches, orange-red peaches, and more. Anyways, thank you for sharing. Commented Oct 22, 2016 at 20:51
  • You comment about there being no fixed peach color points to the problem of trying to pick pigments based on skin color names.
    – rebusB
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 18:06

Color has no name. I painted portraits for more than a decade, so skin is kinda a familiar subject for me. Anyway, I have made several very indepth videos on the subject of color theory for painters.

This is the one that I think speaks more specifically to your question: color has no name

This video is a brief overview on the concept of color (from the perspective of an artist). Other videos in the collection deal specificaly with color theory, paint mixing, and common misconceptions among artists regarding such things. But this particular video deals with "the color of skin" in particular, as well as the matter of available paint color options found in art supply stores.

The short video is of me talking about this subject. The only way that I can "sum up" this very short video is:

  1. I mention that no skin tone is a single color (without going into a great amount of detail on "why".
  2. The color of anything is greatly influenced by the color of the light falling upon it and the color of the reflected light bouncing off adjacent objects in proximity to the skin and reflecting back upn the shadowed areas of the skin surface.

However, if I'm going to sit here and type it all up anyway, I might as well take the opportunity to elaborate on the "why" no skintone is consistent?

It's because all skin is translucent to some degree. The cartilage, musculature, and blood all contribute to the color we see at the surface of the skin. However, the video actualy takes the time to demonstrate the subject of light, and adjacent objects, whuch I can not do here in writing. I hope that helps.

  • Can you please summarize the contents of your video? Otherwise this just reads as an ad.
    – user24
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 2:34
  • I'm sorry, I wasn't clear in my last comment. Could you summarize the information. If for some reason that YouTube link failed or your video was removed, we wouldn't be left with an of the information here that's actually presented. As-is, this is really a link-only answer, because your text hasn't told us anything about the color of skin except that we can find the answer through the link.
    – user24
    Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 3:32
  • Ok, I've spelled it out for you now. The discription above contains all the relevant sumation of the video sans the demonstration.
    – Vasqi
    Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 7:30
  • When you voted me down just now, is it because you thought my comment was unhelpful or inacurate? Just curious. The better able I am to understand why one of my comments was voted down in the past, the better I will be able to construct my future replies.
    – Vasqi
    Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 7:46
  • Was going to vote this up at first, but the self promotion was a negative, and the idea "color has no name" is too general and obviously wrong. Better to say "skin color has no name" which is right on, explain why, and leave your video out of it (or make it a postscript to the explanation.)
    – rebusB
    Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 23:13

You could be creative and use cosmetic product names as a guide and then mix your colours to match. Having said that though, take foundation as an example, Clarins uses descriptions like honey, wheat, cappuccino, sand etc. to describe, what in their opinion, skin tones look like. Language, race and cultural issues I think would create sensitivity around naming skin colour in a literal way.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .